While everyone is talking about Kai Sotto, the 7-foot-3 teen phenom who is now training in the US, his UAAP high school Season 81 rival Carl Vincent Tamayo is also slowly making a case as a future big man of note in the country.
The 18-year-old Talisay City, Cebu born Tamayo and the National University Bullpups dethroned the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eaglets last season with Tamayo earning the finals best player award and Sotto earning the MVP season 81 award.
This season 82, Tamayo and the Bullpups will have to grab the chance of winning back-to-back titles as the second round begins on Jan. 12 at the Fil-Oil Arena in San Juan. The NU boys swept the first round and punctuated their dominance with a 102-71 demolishing of Ateneo in the first round with Tamayo scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Unknown to many, Tamayo has an interesting life story. His mother Hermenia Cabellon Tamayo was a star spiker of the Southwestern University Cobras women’s volleyball team in the ‘90s, while his father Simpoy Tamayo was the bull strong 6-foot-5 center of the University of Southern Philippines Panthers during the late ‘80s.
No wonder Carl has strong pedigree. He got his talents from his mom and his height from his dad.
I was a fan of local women’s volleyball and basketball when I was starting as a young sports writer for SunStar Cebu during those years and I remember Hermenia as as high leaping spiker for the Cobras. I also remember Simpoy as a bull strong center for the Panthers.
Simpoy however did not have a chance of enjoying his son’s basketball success as he died of a heart attack in 2001 days after Carl was born. The last time I saw Hermenia was in 2001 before I migrated to UK. She was pregnant with Carl and she was watching Simpoy play in a local commercial league.
Aside from Carl, Hermenia also has two older children from Simpoy, Mia and Sam. Mia is also tall at 5-foot-9 and is a model in Cebu, while Sam is 6-foot-3 but is into politics in Mohon, Talisay Cebu.
Hermenia said it was difficult to raise her three children without a husband. However, she was lucky that Simpoy left her and the children a property in Sanciangko St., Cebu City and a farm in Carcar, Cebu to help feed and send her children to school.
And when Carl was nine years old, Hermenia remarried a seaman Lemuel Carvellido from Cebu City who helped her take care of her children. She credits him with helping raise her children specially Carl who was very young then.
All her children studied in SWU from kindergarten but Carl’s height and talent already shone at a very young age. He was recruited by Adamson University at 13 years old and studied there for Grades 7 and 8. He then moved to National University when he was in Grade 9 and is now proving to be a very good investment for the school as he is about to finish his Senior High education.
The Bullpups are heavily favored to sweep the second round and eventually win their back-to-back title. As I watched Carl high lights in Youtube as he plays for NU and the Gilas Youth team, I was thinking of how proud Simpoy could be if he was alive.
But then his mother Hermenia is the proudest. Carl is another June Mar Fajardo in the making or even better. He could dribble, he could pass, rebound and he could shoot from any distance and angle including from the 3-point area.